Ed: The mob scenes which led to the police closing the only Parliamentary Hustings in the Lewisham By election took place eight days ago.
That the police chose to close down the Parliamentary Hustings rather than remove the “demonstrators” is a serious attack on Free Speech. These ugly scenes and the prevention of a Parliamentary hustings – not just some insignificant party political meeting! – are of huge concern to all of us, regardless which Party we belong to.
We are therefore making an exemption from our editorial policy of not publishing articles from competing Parties and publish below this Open Letter from Jeff Wyatt FB to Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick.
Ms C Dick,
Commissioner, Metropolitan Police
New Scotland Yard
19th June 2018
Dear Ms Dick,
Metropolitan Police allow mob rule to shut down an official by-election public meeting.
You are probably aware that on Tuesday 12th June all 14 Prospective Parliamentary Candidates contesting the Lewisham East by-election were invited to speak to the electorate at a public meeting, this was to be held at the Salvation Army Hall in Catford. As a relatively recently formed national political party we consider that this would have been a valuable opportunity for us in For Britain to speak directly to the Lewisham public and indeed, a wider audience.
You are also no doubt aware that one of the fundamental roles of the Police is to uphold free speech and the democratic election process. Your colleagues in Lewisham on Tuesday 12th June 2018 comprehensively failed to do this.
Despite our security people clearly informing the local Police Station the day before of the obvious and widely publicised threat of a substantial demonstration against us, your colleagues manifestly failed to ensure our ability to safely attend the event, or indeed to allow the event as a whole to take place. The numbers of Police in attendance was totally inadequate.
The large, baying and aggressive crowd that gathered outside the venue at the start lead our security people to insist we delay our arrival for our own safety. We received no co-operation from the small number of Police on the ground. Despite this, me and my Party leader Anne Marie Waters decided to drive to the public meeting with our security team, relying upon these professional independent ex-military men to see to it that our exercising of our democratic rights were fulfilled.
We made your colleagues aware we were en-route. We do not think it is a coincidence that shortly before we arrived at the venue the Police shut the event down and instructed us to not attend.
This was a shameful example of the British police, your Police, not giving due priority to the machinations of democracy and worse, giving in to mob rule.
Tell me, if the Prime Minister found herself contesting a by-election and wanted to turn up and speak at a public meeting, would you allow a feral mob that turned up, prevent her from speaking? I doubt it.
You will be shortly hearing from our Party Chairman with our formal complaint on the matter.
For Britain Movement